We know pursuing a personal injury claim or approaching an attorney in general can be a daunting
and oftentimes intimidating process. We are here to answer any questions you have along the way.
Personal Injury Defined
When the subject of personal injuries is discussed, most people immediately think of auto accidents. However, there are numerous other cases that would fall under personal injuries. These include injuries you suffer from another’s personal negligence or malice. This can include an animal attack, such as those from an unsafe dog. Also, if you are injured on another’s property, they can be held accountable. Examples of this can include an unsafe yard on personal property or a wet and unmarked floor in a business. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there are 1,903,000 cases yearly of people released from hospital stays due to injury. Also of note is the over 29 million emergency room visits and over 31 million doctor visits reported yearly due to injuries.
Personal Injury: Time Limits
In the state of California, there are limits to the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit to recover damages from a personal injury. In a personal injury case in California, you have two years from the time of injury to file a lawsuit. Remember, if you are injured by another’s negligence, it is important to get the lawsuit properly filed because once you are outside of the two-year window, the court system will likely refuse to hear your case.
However, the statute of limitations for filing is much shorter if the entity in question is the State of California. A lawsuit against the State can relate to issues with cities, counties, or government agencies. An example of this may be that you’re injured in a fall on a public sidewalk that was badly maintained. In cases such as these, you only have six months to file the proper claim paperwork to receive a court hearing and possible compensation for your injuries.
Personal Injury: Shared Fault Laws
In California, there is a concept of shared fault. The best way to explain this is that you may hold some responsibility for your injuries. For example, if you’re badly injured in an automobile accident, your actions while driving will be taken into consideration. While someone running a red light and striking your car would be held mostly at fault, if you were driving ten miles over the speed limit at the time of the accident, that will also be taken into consideration. Do note that at-fault laws don’t mean a 50/50 split. You may be found completely innocent of fault in some cases, or your fault may be considered very minor. In such cases, you may have to pay for a small percentage of the total cost of your injuries. This can include medical bills and lost wages.
Personal Injury: Limits on Damage
There are certain cases in California law where there are hard limits on the amount you can recover for injuries. Here are two examples: In cases where an uninsured driver is injured by another’s negligence, they cannot recover monetary damages for non-economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering). There is only one situation where an uninsured driver can recover non-economic damages. These are cases where the at-fault party was under the influence and received a DUI conviction for events directly related to the accident the uninsured driver is seeking damages from. Another area where there is a hard cap on damages are those concerning medical malpractice. The law in question that places monetary limits on non-economic damages incurred from medical malpractice suits is the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (often abbreviated as MICRA). While pain and suffering is recoverable in malpractice cases, the limit is set at $250,000. Remember, this limit is not placed on economic damages but on non-economic ones, such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, and inconvenience.
Why You Need an Attorney
As you can see, personal injury law is complex and can cover a wide range of sources. When you’re injured, you have a right to recover compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and injury costs. Whenever you are injured due to another’s negligence, one of the first things you should do is hire an attorney as soon as you are able to. The proper paperwork must be filled, and a skilled legal expert must do necessary research as soon as possible. This ensures you will receive the compensation that you are justly due under California law.
In California, the following claims are commonly recovered in personal injury cases:
By working with the personal injury lawyers at the May Firm, you will receive a better understanding of the damages you are entitled to recover once we review your specific case.
The May Firm offers clients a free, no-obligation initial consultation. During our first discussion together, our experienced personal injury attorneys will take the time to ask you questions. We will ask for details regarding the accident that led to your personal injury in addition to information about the injuries you suffered due to the accident. The questions are asked in an effort to determine the viability of your case. If we determine that you have a solid case, we will help you gather police reports, photos, wage loss information, billing statements, and medical records, all of which will help us build a solid foundation for your specific case.
There are two ways you can recover damages from a personal injury claim: through a settlement outside of court or through a lawsuit taking place in court. There is no way to tell from the beginning of your case if your case will go to court or not. However, it is typical for personal injury cases to settle outside of the courtroom. The personal injury attorneys at the May Firm will work diligently to negotiate a settlement in your favor before pursuing action through the court system. No matter what happens, the attorneys at the May Firm will fight hard on your behalf to ensure you are appropriately compensated for your injuries.
There are many scenarios when an injured person is advised to pursue a personal injury case. In most cases, proving negligence on the part of the person who is liable for the injury would be the most effective legal basis. If you have been injured by somebody else as a result of negligence, then you are more likely to have a case. However, it is not always as easy as it may sound even if your injuries are obvious. It may take a lot of work and consideration to establish that the person at fault, or the defendant, has indeed caused you harm by being negligent. If you need legal advice on a personal injury case, you should contact a personal injury attorney. By doing so, you will be able to discuss with a professional any questions and doubts you may have about the entirety of the process and what to expect.
In California, most personal injury cases arise from traffic accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, and many others. Notice that in these scenarios, negligence is a possibility on the part of the defendant. This is due to the fact that drivers, medical practitioners, and manufacturers all have safety standards they need to follow to avoid inflicting harm against others. When things go wrong and someone gets injured, somebody else must have been careless in following the safety standards and should therefore be blamed. This is how you, with the help of a lawyer, would initially go about proving negligence. Once it has been proven that there were existing standards and that the defendant failed to comply with at least one of them, then the next step is to show that you suffered injury as a result of the defendant’s misconduct.
Say you have been in a serious car accident that caused injuries to your physical being and damages to your car. You would have made it safely to your destination, but because somebody decided to drive beyond the speed limit and failed to follow traffic signs, that driver ended up crashing into your car and causing damages, pain, and suffering. So how do you and your personal injury attorney actually work toward proving negligence in court? You will need to gather relevant information regarding the accident to substantiate your statement against the defendant. You need valid evidences supporting his wrongdoing, such as the following:
Evidences presented in court play an important role in establishing the fault of the defendant. Make sure to present evidences that do not work against your claim, especially statements from both your witnesses and the police; do not present them at all and let your attorney look for other available options to help you win your case. Remember that only a skilled personal injury attorney can increase your chances of recovering all your losses, including damage to your car, hospital bills, and even lost wages, so make sure to hire someone who is experienced, particularly in the California state court system.
A statute of limitations is a time limit placed on action taken in a personal injury claim. In the majority of cases, after the statute of limitations expires, you can no longer seek damages or other compensation through a personal injury claim. For a typical personal injury case, you will usually have to take action within two years from the date of the accident in order to remain within the statute of limitations. However, the statute is different for medical malpractice claims and for cases against a government entity. It is best to consult with a qualified personal injury attorney at the May Firm right away for detailed information specific to your case. We offer free, no-obligation consultations, and we will fight for your rights under California law.
We at the May Firm have extensive experience in a variety of personal injury cases. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
The May Firm attorneys enjoy working with clients. We will put all of our energy into achieving a successful outcome for your case. We will always put your case first, with personal attention and a hands-on approach to guide you through each step of your case.
When you are injured in an accident that was not your fault, the most important thing you can do is take care of yourself. It can be very difficult, if not nearly impossible, to navigate through the accident claim process on your own. Insurance companies often attempt to settle cases as quickly as possible to avoid paying further medical fees for innocent victims like you. By hiring a personal injury lawyer, you can focus on getting back on your feet, and you can trust that your legal battle is being fought by knowledgeable attorneys. As you heal from your physical and emotional injuries, an attorney will fight the insurance companies and the person who is at fault for the accident to get you the compensation you deserve. The personal injury attorneys at the May Firm have extensive knowledge on a variety of personal injury cases as well as how the law applies to each individual case. You will not be taken advantage of by an insurance company with the guidance and support of an attorney. The May Firm will be a powerful advocate working for you.
A personal injury lawyer should be called whenever you experience an injury due to someone else’s negligence. Common personal injury cases may include motorcycle accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, dog bites, construction accidents, and injuries due to a defective product. It doesn’t matter if your injury is minor or severe; a personal injury attorney can help you manage claims against your insurance company or the insurance company of the person who is responsible for the accident. An attorney will act as your advocate during this difficult time to ensure your rights are protected and fought for. The personal injury attorneys at the May Firm can also assist you in recovering damages for your time spent out of work due to your injury.
It is always a good idea to talk to a few personal injury law firms to find the best fit for you and your case. That is why the May Firm offers a free, no-obligation consultation to our potential clients. During this meeting, we will ask you questions to determine the viability of your case. We will also instruct you and will guide you through the next steps, if we choose to work together on your personal injury claim. It is important for you to find attorneys with whom you are comfortable working. We approach every case with compassion. Our experience and knowledge of California personal injury law makes us the perfect fit for many clients.
Our first meeting with potential clients is always a free consultation. There is no obligation to continue working together if the fit is not right. During the free consultation, an attorney at the May Firm will sit down with you and will ask you many questions to find out every detail about your situation. We will ask about how the accident happened, what injuries you suffered as a result of the accident, and what your life is like as you recover and heal from your physical injuries. We will also determine if you have a case. If we determine that you have a case, we will go over the next steps with you, including a list of documents you will need to gather for us to use as a starting point in building a strong case for you.
It is difficult to say exactly how long it will take to settle your case. There is no specific time frame set for cases that settle through negotiation nor for cases that settle through the court system. The insurance companies will push you to settle quickly, which may be enticing when you are struggling to pay your medical bills or cover the costs of missing work for an extended period of time. However, a quick settlement is usually not in your best interest. Quick settlements are typically well below the compensation you actually deserve. The personal injury attorneys at the May Firm will work as fast as possible to get you the compensation you deserve. We will communicate with you every step of the way so you understand exactly what is happening as well as any next steps needed to get recovery for your damages.
When involved in a personal injury lawsuit you’re closest ally is often your attorney. Through their hard work and diligence your case is heard before the court and you’re able to recover what you are legally due. This can include your lost wages, medical payments, and pain and suffering due to injuries caused by the negligence of another. After a case has been decided in your favor and a settlement is agreed upon the next step is the distribution of the settlement and the payment of existing expenses. However, legal proceeding are often very expensive and many lack the funds to even get through a successful lawsuit. Due to the time and money involved in legal proceedings the usage of the contingency fee has become popular. This allows you to have your case heard even if you lack material wealth. Basically, a contingency fee states that your attorney will only be paid in a situation where your lawsuit is successful. The injury settlement you receive is paid out to several different categories. Below is a brief overview of how a settlement may be divided.
Attorney Fees And Case Costs:
Your attorney’s fees will be based on a percentage of the settlement awarded agreed upon by both client and attorney. A common range is 33.33% to 40% percent however, this can vary depending on the circumstances of your case. In the state of California this agreement must be written, agreed upon, and copies of this contract must be provided to both you and your attorney. This agreement also covers payments for related fees not covered in the contract directly, other related court costs that affect the total amount due, and any limit imposed on the maximum amount that can be charged.
Case Costs: What Are These?
Litigating personal injury cases is expensive. There are often several different expenses incurred during the process of the trial itself. Many of these are related to the gathering of evidence, the hiring of professionals, expert witnesses, and general costs and expenses such as researching records. Hiring legal experts is an often necessary and considerable expense, which can often be a deciding factor for jurors. Skilled research and expert testimony can help prove the fault of those who have injured you and the true extent of injuries you have suffered. Please remember, case costs are different than attorneys fees. However, in some cases the costs are minimal. If the case is resolved without the need of filing a law suit or if no experts are retained, case costs can be a few hundred dollars. When you hire The May Firm, we pay all case costs on behalf of the client. Only when the case is resolved are the case costs paid back to The May Firm.
Examples of Case Costs:
Filing a Lawsuit
Investigations (Hiring A Private Investigator)
One of the key components of any wrongful injury lawsuit is being reimbursed for your medical expenses. In most cases your attorney will make sure that your medical expenses are one of the first things covered. Do note that in most cases even if your insurance covers it you’re required to pay for medical expenses if you are successful in court proceedings. We make sure our clients’ medical bills are paid. We negotiate with medical service providers, chiropractors, doctors, health insurance companies and governmental agencies to make sure our clients do not have to worry about paying for medical bills after the case is resolved. This is an added value many clients do not know we provide. So even when your case is over, we continue to work for our clients!
The last aspect of a settlement is the balance of funds available to the client after the settlement. You are awarded any remaining monies in a settlement after the above has been paid. Always remember that the intent of a wrongful injury lawsuit is for you to be made whole and have returned to you what was lost or any undue expenses paid for. While large multi-million dollar settlements due to grievous injury or extreme negligence do occur they are an exception rather than the rule. At The May Firm we understand that as the client, you have suffered the loss and endured the injuries. In some circumstances, we will lower our contractual attorney’s fees to ensure our clients receive additional compensation. Clients come first at The May Firm.
Understanding Contingency Fees For Accident Injury Cases
As you can see a contingency fee can prove very beneficial. You can be certain your case will be heard before the court. Plus you are left with the peace of mind that the money you receive is yours without any bills or balances due; and that court costs, attorney fees, and medical expenses have been duly covered.
At The May Firm, we work on a contingency basis. A contingency basis means that you will not pay us anything until we win your case for you. Once you receive compensation from your injury settlement, we will typically collect 33.33% to 40% of that settlement to cover the costs associated with fighting for your rights in a personal injury claim. It is important to note that the actual percentage will be discussed and agreed upon in writing before we begin working on your case. By working on a contingency basis, you will not have to worry about any upfront costs. All costs will not be paid until your case produces a successful outcome.
Normally before entering into any kind of personal injury lawsuit for injuries obtained in a car accident, trip or fall – or any other personal injury which wasn’t their fault – people often ask themselves whether it’s really worth it. Next, they wonder to themselves, “how much is my case worth?“
What are your injuries?
Although each personal injury case value will differ greatly depending on the case, the answer will mainly depend on ‘damages’ – this means working out the sum of what your injuries have cost you. Perhaps you’ve lost out on your wages, or have sustained physical or mental damage that have resulted in hefty medical bills. The defendant may also require punishment if they were criminally in the wrong.
Who will pay for my injuries?
In all personal injury cases, monetary damage is paid to the injured party (also known as the plaintiff) by the party (either a person, company or corporation) that is deemed to be legally responsible for these damages and the accident which has occurred. Either the defendant or their insurer will usually foot the bill, and a damage award is usually negotiated by way of a settlement – either among all involved parties, their attorneys or insurance companies. This could also be ordered via a judge or jury if the claim goes to court.
Damages recoverable in California injury cases
Here are some examples of the various types of damages commonly claimed for in personal injury cases, and how this can be affected by the action of the plaintiff. Looking at these can help you determine how much your claim might actually be worth, and include:
Case value and general damages (Pain and Suffering)
When trying to determine an individual personal injury case value, it is simple enough to add up the amounts of money which have been lost or spent (medical fees, lost income, etc…), however, there is no easy way to account for a person’s pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment or missed opportunities. This is why most insurance companies have a damage formula in place. Pain and suffering or general damages, is the most difficult portion of a personal injury claim to quantify. What is the value of life? What is the value of pain? These are questions that attorneys, legal scholars, mediators, clients and most importantly juries have to decide. This is done on past experience with other cases, knowing the “story” of each client and having an understanding of the nature of loss the individual has suffered.
Is there a formula to calculate damages?
The short answer, no. There is no specific calculation to know the value of a personal injury case. When claim negotiations begin, a claims adjuster is brought in to add up the total medical expenses which have been incurred by the injury. These are usually just referred to as ‘medical special damages’ or ‘specials’. The amount this totals is called the base figure that is used to work out how much the injured person should be paid for non-monetary losses which cannot be as easily worked out (pain, suffering, personal or professional problems caused as a result of the accident). These are known as ‘general’ damages. If a person’s injuries are thought to be minor, the adjuster can decide to multiply the amount of special damages by either 1.5 or 2. If the injuries sustained have been serious, permanent, long-term or particularly painful, the adjuster can multiply these damages by 5 or even 10 in very extreme or severe cases. However, when a case is brought to a jury you never know how the collective of twelve jurors will value the pain and suffering of another. That said, each and every case is different. Lawyers, good lawyers, do not put a value on a case until they know the case inside and out. Lastly, lost income is then taken into account and we are left with the basic formula for working out a personal injury case value. It’s not an exact science, and every individual case is different.
Depending on the case, punitive damages could also be awarded to the plaintiff, although the main aim of these types of damages is seen as more of a punishment to the defendant and also a deterrent to stop them from ever committing the same crime again. Punitive damages can be as much as tens of millions of dollars, which is why some states have set a cap on the amount of punitive damages which can be awarded. In California, the Supreme Court has held that the reasonable range for these charges is between three and ten times the compensatory damages awarded.
Immediately following an accident of any kind, the first thing you should do is seek immediate medical help.Obviously, it is important for a physician to determine the extent of your injuries and start you on the healing process. But this step is also important so that you can begin documenting your injuries. If you have a strong case against the person whose negligence caused your injuries, documentation is vital to convince the court and insurance companies that your case is justified and you should be compensated accordingly. Once medical treatment is sought, contact a personal injury attorney who will work for you to ensure your rights are protected and any due compensation is granted.
Even if you suffered from minor injuries after an accident, you may be out of work for a period of time — or even indefinitely. As you try your best to heal quickly, you are likely very concerned to go back to work in order to pay your regular bills, in addition to mounting medical expenses as a result of your injury. Loss of income is typically taken into account when litigating or negotiating your personal injury claim. The personal injury attorneys at The May Firm will fight to ensure that the wages you lost due to your injury will be returned to you in full compensation.
In the difficult time after losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, recklessness, malpractice, or inaction, contact a wrongful death attorney to help you through the legal issues surrounding the death. By pursuing legal action, you have the ability to hold someone accountable for your loved one’s death. The wrongful death attorneys at The May Firm understand your grief and they vow to work on your behalf to get the compensation you deserve. Be wary of insurance companies and others who may try to take advantage of you during this vulnerable time. The May Firm attorneys will help you navigate the system to ensure you are treated fairly and compassionately.